HOW TO SURVIVE IN A FOREIGN PRISON

Prisoners Abroad was featured in Shortlist magazine today, alongside the story of Billy Moore who we supported when he was in prison in Thailand.

Billy had a very difficult ordeal whilst in prison; surviving some of the worst conditions imaginable.

Prisoners Abroad has put together some practical advice for anyone who finds themselves arrested and detained overseas:

  1. Try to learn some of the local language as quickly as possible! It’ll help if you can communicate with officers and other people in detention, and understand what is being said (potentially in relation to your case).
  2. Think about your diet – most prisons allow you to buy additional food (if you have money) so choose things that will help you get the vitamins and proteins that you need.
  3. Find out when you have access to water, especially if imprisoned in a hot country. This is sometimes only for an hour a day – so fill up bottles where you can. Add salt to your water to help with dehydration; a common issue in countries such as Thailand.
  4. Hygiene can be a big problem in prisons in less developed countries, and overcrowding of cells (which is common) can mean that illness and disease is passed on quickly. Maintaining personal hygiene will help you avoid this; get information about the prison’s healthcare e.g. regularity, and whether there are charges for treatment.
  5. Maintain your fitness – keep your muscles and joints moving regularly if you can – the endorphins will help to relax you. Yoga is a popular way to keep healthy with limited space.
  6. Be cautious when you are finding a lawyer to ensure your situation is not exploited. Make sure they are qualified and experienced in your type of case, and discuss any fees for which you’ll be liable when you first agree to hire them. If you can’t afford a private lawyer, find out if there is any provision of legal aid in the country in which you are detained.
  7. If court proceedings aren’t in English, find out how to get an interpreter so you understand what is going on.
  8. Don’t be afraid to reach out! There are organisations that can help you. As a foreign national prisoner, you have the right to contact your Embassy in that country for consular assistance.
  9. Remember not to assume anything – the prison systems in other countries can be very different to that of the UK.

If you would like to support the work of Prisoners Abroad please donate today and help save the lives of British citizens in prison overseas. We also support their families back in the UK and those returning after serving their sentence who need access to a resettlement service.

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